Sage Publications (2017). Chapter 8: The police culture and
work stress. Retrieved from
Police One.com (2017). How police can reduce and manage
stress. Retrieved from http://www.
responses by organizational traits. Retrieved from https://www.ifip.com/acjs1rr.htm
Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. (1990). Police stress and organizational formalization:
Each officer’s situation is different. There are some situations
in which officers seem they are out of options, but the important thing is to
keep pushing forward, remain as positive as possible, and get help.
Practice relaxation techniques.
Keep a positive attitude.
Stay active with exercise.
Setting realistic goals and knowing limitations.
Get adequate sleep and control caffeine intake.
Set goals and ensure they are met.
Schedule time to take care of other
Take the time to find equilibrium.
We have learned that
all stress is not bad. In the right circumstances, it can save an officer’s
life by helping him/her get out of dangerous situations and it can also
motivate individuals to succeed (Police One.com, 2017). Extreme amounts of
untreated stress can have an emotional and physical impact on the officer and
can cause major problems in their home life, work, and socially. Luckily, there
are ways in which officers can effectively manage stress.
The most frequent claim of police work stress by officers is
the “nature of the beast so to speak.” Police officers may witness or
experience some intense events that civilians won’t encounter possibly in their
entire life. Police officers have been witness to death, rapes, car accidents,
and acts of violence. Some of which involve children and teens. Over time,
officers may become numb to certain aspects of the job, but it is still hard on
them. Also, it is even harder to stop the emotional distress that these
situations cause. It is rare that officers suffer from PTSD, however it does
occur in some cases (Sage Publications, 2017).
One factor of agency stress is role conflict. Role conflict
can occur from three somewhat opposing sources. The first two are “in-house”
and the third is external. The first happens when successful completion of a
task requires action that does not follow procedures; nonetheless established
procedures must be followed and not broken. An example could be an officer
constantly witnessing unethical acts that are for the “good of the department.”
Second, the inconsistent job expectations placed on an individual officer by
different groups or individuals within the organization. Third is the conflict
that occurs from expected duties, responsibilities and beliefs or memberships
in groups outside of the department. An officer could have a second job, or be
a part of another organization that conflicts with police work. Another factor
is role ambiguity. This stressor is increased by not having clear, concise, and
successful communication of what information is needed for a person to complete
his or her assigned duties. Police officers want to know what is expected of
them, what is needed to perform their duties, limitations, etc. Not having
these clearly defined can cause extreme stress.
Much of the present-day information on what causes law
enforcement stress centers more on the factors particular to the individual
officer. However, alternate research shows that an officer’s ability to deal
with this stress is slowed down by the structure and operation of the
organization police enforcement officer stress.
Police officers are faced with stressful situations on a
daily basis. For many, this is within the normal scope of their duties.
However, too much stress on individual officers may impair their ability to
carry out their responsibilities (Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, 1990).
In addition to the negative effect on individuals, extreme stress on officers
means that the agency itself suffers a reduced capacity to serve the public. As
a result, supervisors must be able to identify the causes of excessive stress
on individual officers and take appropriate action to improve its effects.